Things That Matter

Two Marines In California Have Been Charged With Smuggling Immigrants Across The Border

Coming to the U.S. isn’t easy. It can cost a lot of money whether people do it legally or not. Sometimes it can even cost them their lives. In 2018, The New York Times reported that coyotes — people who help undocumented immigrants enter the U.S. — charged people thousands of dollars. But who are these coyotes anyway? Coyotes can be anyone, men, women, professionals or otherwise. Coyotes have also been known to exploit those they are supposedly trying to help. The job is a dangerous one that puts all parties at risk with the ultimate goal of getting everyone in the party across the U.S.-Mexico border without injury or being caught. Unfortunately, more often than not, these stories don’t have a happy ending.

Two marines attempted to help undocumented immigrants enter the U.S., but were caught en route to their destination.

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According to media reports on July 3, Camp Pendleton marines Byron Darnell Law II and David Javier Salazar-Quintero were arrested at Jacumba Hot Springs, California — which is east of San Diego near the border. The men had three undocumented immigrants in their car. They now face “one felony count of seeking monetary compensation,” Fox5 reports. When the men were pulled over for questioning the two Marines began pointing fingers at one another, CNN reports.

Salazar-Quintero allegedly told Law if he wanted to make $1000 for transporting the undocumented immigrants.

Credit: @Mickpgem / Twitter

This was not the first time Salazar-Quintero helped undocumented people enter the U.S. According to news reports, he told officials that he had picked people near Jacumba Hot Springs several times before. Officials spoke to the undocumented immigrants who said that they paid Salazar-Quintero $8,000 to be smuggled into the U.S. That amount is what the standard rate is, according to the 2018 New York Times report. However, Salazar-Quintero said he was expecting $500 for the pickup. It’s unclear if he was given more.

The complaint shows that Salazar-Quintero was the one spearheading the transportation details.

Credit: @realGenerationX / Twitter

It’s unclear who first contacted Salazar-Quintero but the complaint states that Law said Salazar-Quintero was handling the phone calls which include information about instructions. Salazar-Quintero also speaks Spanish which helped in facilitating the movement.

It’s also uncertain if other marines helped Salazar-Quintero to smuggle undocumented immigrants previously or if he acted alone. One theory that perhaps helped Salazar-Quintero is that officials wouldn’t question why he would have undocumented people in his car since he is an official marine. However, if he was in plains clothing that may have been a reason why he got caught.

Both marines are distinguished officers who have received awards for their service.

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The National Review reports that they both enlisted in 2017 and “have won the National Defense Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal. Officials at Camp Pendleton said they are cooperating “fully with the investigative efforts into this matter.”

While coyotes aren’t the main way people enter the country, it’s a method that is still used whether it is through car transport or via semi-trucks.

We’ve seen previous reports of dozens, if not hundreds, of undocumented immigrants being transported through semi-trucks. Some are in there for days without water or without means to use the bathrooms. The NY Times reports that “a decade ago, Mexicans and Central Americans paid between $1,000 and $3,000 for clandestine passage into the United States. Now they hand over up to $9,200 for the same journey, the Department of Homeland Security reported last year.”

Fox News now reports that Mexico is trying to combat the smuggling of undocumented immigrants by using X-ray machines to see inside trucks.

“Mexican officials say they caught more than 200 migrants hidden in trucks the last two days, using X-rays to see the people hidden inside. The Mexican security ministry also said it found 228 migrants in a routine search of a soft drink transportation truck in one of its southern states on Monday.”

“It is our strategic objective to end the impunity for human traffickers,” Mexican foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard said on Monday, according to Fox News.

READ: New Research Shows Most Undocumented Immigrants Aren’t Coming From Mexico But Instead Central America

Cops Wrongfully Arrest A Man After Finding Bird Poop On Hood Of His Car That They Assumed Was Cocaine

Things That Matter

Cops Wrongfully Arrest A Man After Finding Bird Poop On Hood Of His Car That They Assumed Was Cocaine

WSAV3 / YouTube

Sometimes, cops pull you over for the craziest reasons. A veces, it’s a simple misunderstanding, but how are you going to put up a fight when you’re being confronted by authority?

In Georgia, Shia Werts, a college quarterback, was pulled over for speeding but was arrested for something completely different. 

In the 33 minute video, you can see the police officers pull Werts’ car over for allegedly speeding. They make Werts get out of his vehicle to talk to the cop that stopped him. As the conversation carries on, it ultimately leads to Werts getting handcuffed and taken away from his car. 

In the video, you can hear Werts say, “Can I call my mom?” 

The officer responds, “No. You can’t call anyone until we get to the jail.”

The video continues and you can hear Werts let out a deep sigh in the background as the 3 police officers surround the outside of his car to examine it. 

For minutes, you see the three men search the car inside and out, trying to find a way to incriminate Werts. They take out his personal belongings out of the car and look through them as well. One officer can be seen taking out pieces of clothing, one by one, as he looks through a backpack. He disregards Werts’ clothes completely, which is incredibly frustrating to watch because all of this happened because he was supposedly speeding. 

After searching, they come up empty-handed, except for the white substance they discover on the hood of his car. 

At 15:14, you can hear the cop ask Werts “What’s the white stuff on the front of your hood?”

Wert responds, “Bird shit.” 

The police officer is not ready to let Werts go and replies, “That ain’t bird shit.” 

The two keep going back and forth about the white substance being bird poop. 

“I promise you that’s bird shit.” 

“I promise you it’s not though.”

“I swear to God…”

“I swear to God it’s not because I just tested it and it turned pink.” 

Both the cop and Werts continue disputing as Werts’ voice rises, clearly upset by the situation. The man then leaves to make a phone call and Werts is left in the car alone again. 

Yup, you read that right. Cocaine. 

In a video that shows close-up bodycam footage of the situation, viewers can see one of the cops be visibly astonished by what they find on the hood of Wert’s car. It looks as if he just hit the jackpot since the car is covered in bird poop, oops, I mean cocaine. 

Even after the cop tells Werts that the droppings came back positive for cocaine, the rest of the officers continue to search the car again. One of the men goes into a deep search of Werts’ car trunk. In the background, you can hear Werts sighing and becoming more frustrated because he has nothing to hide. 

They keep Werts waiting in the car without a clear answer to what is going to happen to him. They search his car, stop to talk with one another, and then each of the three men continues doing their own thing before going to talk to Werts again. 

The police officer repeatedly emphasizes the fact that the test came back positive for cocaine even though Werts claims that it is bird droppings. 

When Werts is left alone again he says to himself, “This man talking about cocaine…” as if he can’t wrap his head around the situation either. 

After 30 minutes, Werts’ Miranda rights are finally read.

Although Werts’ Miranda’s right were read, Werts keeps discussing how it doesn’t make sense for the white substance on his hood to be cocaine. Even the officer agrees with him that it’s not clear how it came positive, but continues to cling to the field test that came back pink.

Werts was charged with speeding and given a misdemeanor for possessing cocaine, which suspended him from participating in sports activities with teammates. 

However, those charges were ultimately dismissed because once the supposed cocaine was tested at a lab, the results came back as 100% bird poop

A Puerto Rican Woman Serving In The Air Force Was Told To Stop Speaking Spanish While At Starbucks

Culture

A Puerto Rican Woman Serving In The Air Force Was Told To Stop Speaking Spanish While At Starbucks

Xiara Mercado / Facebook

We’ve seen time and time again, people in the U.S., minding their own business, continuously get disrespected for speaking Spanish. The audacity of someone telling you that you cannot do something like speaking your native language as if it’s illegal. Typically these verbal assaults by complete strangers happen in restaurants, on the street, at stores, but this latest occurrence happened to someone we’d never expect. 

On July 17, 27-year-old Xiara Mercado, a member of the Air Force who is stationed in Hawaii, was wearing her uniform when a woman told her she shouldn’t speak Spanish.

Credit: Xiara Mercado / Facebook

Mercado shared the appalling ordeal in a Facebook post and described that she was waiting for a drink at Starbucks during her lunch break and began speaking on her cell phone in Spanish. She said she got off the phone once her drink was ready and walked outside.

Mercado writes, “I get tapped on the shoulder by this lady,” and the lady said to her, “you shouldn’t be speaking Spanish, that’s not what that uniform represents… It’s distasteful.”

The Puerto Rican native said that she was confused at first by the lady and her comment about being “distasteful.”

Credit: Xiara Mercado / Facebook

“I’m sorry ma’am, what’s distasteful?” Mercado asked the lady. “You speaking another language that does not represent America and that uniform you are wearing, that’s distasteful.”

Mercado said she collected her thoughts for a moment and responded to her by saying, “I’m sorry ma’am the only distasteful thing here is that you are clueless to your discrimination, please educate your self. Have a nice day.”

But the ordeal didn’t end there. Mercado writes that the lady spoke to her again, this time loudly and said: “I don’t know how you are allowed to wear that uniform.”

Credit: Xiara Mercado / Facebook

You would think Mercado would have lost her cool. We know we would have, but rather than lose her temper, Mercado responded to this racist woman by saying, “I wear it proudly.” She then walked away. 

Mercado finished her Facebook post by writing, “I was more sad than mad but above all I am disgusted. Even though I wanted to say a lot more I have respect for people and the uniform I wear… That’s the best I could do in that situation. Someone told me I could have smiled and apologized, Ummm I’m sorry what!? If you don’t see what is wrong with my story you are part of the problem. #thisisamerica.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. 

Her post has since been shared almost 50,000 times on Facebook.

Credit: Xiara Mercado / Facebook

People from all over the world have been sending her lots of support via social media. They tell her she handled the situation amazingly and that she should never apologize for speaking Spanish. 

Vanessa Facio‎ wrote to Mercado on Facebook, “You remind me of a woman who holds a very special place in my heart. When I saw your post, not only did I feel your disappointment and disrespect, but I also felt the warrior in you. Thank you for serving this country and raising an awareness for not only women but for all the warriors and giving those the courage to stand up for themselves.”

A couple of days after her initial post, Mercado was clearly surprised by the overwhelming amount of comments and response to her words.

Credit: Xiara Mercado / Facebook

She said that she didn’t write that to get praise. She also said not all of the comments were positive, she said some of them were also bad. Mercado also said that just like us, she too has seen in the headlines how people say offensive things to others but never thought it would happen to her. She said at the end of the day, it’s not about the Spanish language but more directly about discrimination. 

Mercado added that people who live in a bubble and believe the armed forces are run by “straight, white, males” are very wrong. 

Credit: Xiara Mercado / Facebook

Mercado wanted her followers to know that her post was more than about speaking Spanish but also about gender equality, the LGBTQ community, and identity. “That’s what I fight for,” she said. 

Thank you for your service, Xiara!

READ: Two Racist Florida Women Are Caught On Video Telling A Puerto Rican Man To ‘Go Back To Mexico’ If He Wants To Speak Spanish

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